The United States exports a growing number of weapons to Mexico with almost no controls on where they go. These gun exports, together with massive illegal trafficking from U.S. retail gun sales, are part of the growing human rights crisis that is devastating migrants as well as Mexican communities.

And Trump wants to make it even easier for weapons manufacturers to sell and export firearms in Mexico and other countries. “Semi-automatic weapons, flamethrowers and even some grenades will become easier for U.S. weapons manufacturers to export overseas under new rules being put in place by the Trump administration and obtained by NBC News.”

View our webinar to learn more about this issue and how you can join a growing movement working to stop U.S. guns from getting into the hands of human rights abusers.

Hear from expert panelists including:

  • Eugenio Weigend is a senior policy analyst [2] at the Center for American Progress and author of numerous articles on U.S. gun trafficking to Mexico. [3]
  • Jessica Molina is a human rights defender from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas whose husband was disappeared by Mexican Navy troops in March 2018. Jessica has become a leading spokesperson for dozens of family members of disappeared people in Nuevo Laredo. [4]
  • Yanira Arias is the National Campaigns Manager for Alianza Americas, where she has coordinated actions in response to the detention and stigmatization of thousands of Central American children and their families. A Temporary Protected Status holder from El Salvador, she brings expertise on health disparities and community participation.
  • John Lindsay-Poland coordinates the Stop US Arms to Mexico project [5] of Global Exchange, and also has written extensively about the U.S. gun trade and its impacts in Mexico. [6]
  • Moderated by Janice Gallagher, assistant Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in Mexico and Colombia and wrote “Tipping the Scales of Justice: The Role of Citizen Action in Strengthening the Rule of Law.” A true public intellectual, Janice also recently led an international elections observation mission in Tamaulipas, Mexico’s most dangerous border state.

[1] “Trump Administration Eases Regulations on Gun Exports, Raising Concerns,” The New York Times, January 31, 2019.
[2] Eugenio Weigend biographical page 
[3] “Should Mexico Adopt Permissive Gun Policies: Lessons from the United States,” Mexican Law Review, January 24, 2019. 8
[4] “Will Mexico’s New President Seek Justice for the Disappeared?” The Nation, January 28, 2019.
[5] Stop US Arms to Mexico web site
[6] “How U.S. Guns Sold to Mexico End Up with Security Forces Accused of Crime and Human Righhts Abuses,” The Intercept, April 26, 2018.

Photo Credit: Democracy Now


Yesterday I saw the possibility of a better future for the US when 175,000 people joined the March for Our lives in New York City.

This demonstration of people power was led by youth of all ages, and brought  people from all corners of the city together to demand an end to gun violence and to call on the President and Congress for stricter gun control measures.

But this was more than a political action; it was the birth of a new generation of activists and change makers, and a welcoming for thousands of youth into the struggle for peace, justice and equality.

This historical action took place in cities across the country, moving millions to listen and support the demands of our nation’s youth who will not tolerate nor accept the keys of this country in its current state.

Despite the mass turnouts on Saturday; Senator Marco Rubio expressed that even though he “respected their right to express their ideas,” there are a lot of people who do not support new gun control measures and continued to defended his support of the NRA.

When will sanity arrive to Washington? When will the lives of our youth be more important than gun ownership? When will Washington hear the voices of the masses and offer a solution and not an excuse?!

Expressions like the one from Rubio remind us that we still have to face the great wall of ignorance, ambition and corporate interests, to achieve safety in this country,  but the March for our Lives showed us that we have the strength, the energy and clearly the will to do it.

We must stand with our youth in support of this cause and work with others to discuss, organize and mobilize to ensure that we vote out violence and take our democracy in the right direction.

Global Exchange is taking a stand. This summer we will be putting our best efforts forward to bring our allies of all ages together, to reflect, to dialogue and then to take action in accordance with the demands of our youth for a better future now.


A toxic mixture of insecure masculinity, politically amplified fears, race prejudice, and anti-government paranoia feeds America’s dangerous gun culture.

These forces were not invented by the NRA, but the NRA has cynically manipulated them to build itself into a powerful force for mass marketing the idea that more weapons in private hands is the solution to our violence problems, not its root.

Rather than argue that guns have a legitimate, but restricted place in our society as tools for hunting and self-defense (as the original NRA did in decades long past), the NRA glorifies firearms ownership, imposes a fundamentalist interpretation of the Second Amendment, and shields firearms marketers from any responsibility – even as they sell millions of weapons designed for military combat to virtually anyone who can afford one.

In order to stifle debate, the NRA attacks anyone who offers even the mildest common sense measures to regulate the sale of weapons. They work to suppress research and documentation of gun violence to deprive their opponents of useful data that might undermine their extremist positions. But their evil is most evident when, in response to repeated school massacres, they distract from the consequences of irresponsible gun policy by relentlessly pushing proposals for arming teachers.

Earlier this week, the NRA’s absurd “more guns for school safety” proposals were (once again) echoed by President Trump. He continued to claim that the NRA is “on our side” even as he maneuvered to contain the growing fury aroused by the Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 Florida high-school students.

That is a lot of bad news. The good news is the awakening on this issue that is happening all across our beautiful country.  Brilliant student survivors, joined by LGBTQ community folk who became active after the 2016 Pulse dance club massacre descended on the Florida state capital last week and are having real impact.

Outrage at politics as usual on guns is so strong that yesterday Trump “shocked” a Republican gathering with vague talk of “comprehensive gun control” (even as he continued to advocate for arming teachers and other school personnel). We don’t buy the change of heart, but we do celebrate that popular pressure is forcing this “big fan of the NRA” to distance himself from their toxic “more guns is always better” talking points.

Nationally the NRA is being abandoned by corporations that usually lay low on this issue. In a break with NRA orthodoxy Dick’s Sporting Goods no longer sell assault rifles or high capacity magazines nor will they sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age. Walmart and Kroger are likewise adopting voluntary restrictions. A growing list of major corporations have cut commercial ties to the NRA – these include airlines like Delta and United; car rental agencies like Enterprise, Hertz and Avis; movers North American Van Lines and Allied Van Lines; and life insurance companies like MetLife.

Common sense gun control is back by popular demand, and – like it or not – will be a big part of the 2018 mid-term election debate.

Keeping the momentum alive for effective gun policy reform will be one of the aims Global Exchange’s Town Hall Summer 2018 project that looks to build civic momentum by organizing regional meetings of people who are working on a broad range of issues: climate, peace, immigrant rights, worker justice, black lives matter, #metoo, gun law reform; ending the drug war, criminal justice reform, health care for all, and more.

Moving together in a common sense direction on gun policy is part of breaking out of “issue silos” that have compartmentalize and held back our movements.

Today, join us and help accelerate the pace of change by joining the youth who are standing and saying “Not One More.”

Take Part in the MARCH FOR OUR LIVES on March 24, 2018 and find a Gathering Near You.

Tomorrow we want to work with you and everyone who’s interested in building a people’s movement to take back our world and the course of history from those who seek to endlessly plunder the planet and extinguish our hopes.

People know we need to change course, but too many of us feel powerless. That is the first thing we have to change.

Join us. We’ve got the numbers, but we have to work together.

We share the shock and grief at the horrendous mass shooting in Las Vegas that took the lives of at least 58 people and left more than 500 hospitalized with injuries. We hold the victims and their friends and family in the light as they search for healing.

In just over a year, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history has been eclipsed by another, then another. This is not normal. 

This violence is the outcome of gun laws and policies that permit most people in the United States to freely obtain military-style assault weapons, such as that used in Las Vegas. Currently proposed federal legislation, contained in the SHARE Act, would even deregulate silencers and flash suppressors, making even more difficult the detection and location of shooters like the one in Las Vegas.

Join us to support the call for humane and sensible gun laws by stopping sales of military-style assault weapons, no deregulation of silencers, and resisting proposals to make it easier for anyone to carry a concealed firearm, by signing this emergency petition from CREDO.

While it is rarely reported in the United States, U.S.-sourced assault rifles are also responsible for many killings, kidnappings, and other violence against ordinary people across the border in Mexico. The same ease with which the Las Vegas shooter obtained rapid-fire weaponry allows people to buy assault weapons in Texas, Arizona and other states to supply organize crime in Mexico.

Just last week, gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles – which are not legally available in Mexico and were likely purchased in the United States* – killed 15 people at a drug rehabilitation center in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Stopping the retail sale of these weapons contributes to stemming the bloodshed among all of our neighbors. Sign the petition today. 

 * Seventy percent of firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and traced were purchased in the United States, according to data published by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Gun Vigil San Francisco-22It was a drizzly morning; the drops of rain were undeniable despite the fact that we’d had beautiful sunny weather for weeks. Our End Gun Violence Vigil involved 26 tiny pairs of shoes representing Sandy Hook massacre victims and the testimonials of three victims of gun violence in California. We weren’t sure we’d have enough mass and visuals to have any impact in the rain. But our four week old Community United Against Gun Violence agreed that we would show up and if nothing else,  huddle together in the rain.

At 3 o’clock we showed up with our signs, a suitcase full of shoes, little rubber boots, sneakers, etc. and the crowd began to form around two big banners: “SF United to End Gun Violence” and one in Spanish saying “No Estamos Hasta La Madre” with a splash of red paint representing the blood spilled by over 60,000 victims of the war on drugs in Mexico.

No Estamos a la madreGathering at the Federal Building plaza in San Francisco, people passed on their way home from work and stopped to ask what this was all about; the little shoes and a sign that made no sense if you only had high school level Spanish.

Latinos, the fastest growing demographic in California, passed by chuckling and gave the thumbs up as we explained that it meant something on the order of “Enough Already!!…..

The Terrifying Facts:

Over 34 people are killed a day by gun violence in the United States, fast approaching a level of terror we find unacceptable anywhere else in the world.  And there are 90 guns for every 100 Americans! In fact the US has 5% of the worlds’ population and 50% of the world’s guns.

Statistics like that can make you mad, but the stories of the victims move you to action. So last Thursday we laid the shoes out as we called out the names of the murdered children and teachers of Sandy Hook elementary school.

Gun Vigil San Francisco-30We also listened to a few California parents who had lost their own children to gun violence here on the west coast. Karen Pandula spoke about getting the phone call from the hospital and the magical thinking she engaged in as she rushed to the hospital hoping that her daughter Kristina was just incapacitated and unable to speak for herself.

From the heartbroken mother we were called to support our Representative Pelosi in her key role to support Obama’s initiative to:

  • Ban Assault Weapons
  • Ban High Capacity Ammunition Cartridges
  • Make all gun buyers pass a background check

Finally the Reverend Allen of the Third Baptist Church reminded us that though we are  non-violent warriors, this will be a fight that we must commit to if we are to heal the country. Though the group was small, it was spirited and dedicated and I heard more than one person say “this is just the beginning, a seed has been planted.”


~Check out and share our End Gun Violence Vigil photos on Facebook.

~Join us as we continue to expand our Community United to End Gun Violence  — next meeting is Wednesday – February 20th at the Global Exchange office. Or start your own Community to End Gun Violence by signing up with


Kirsten Moller participating in One Million Moms for Gun Control action in San Francisco. January, 2013. Photo Credit: Global Exchange

Update 2/5/2013: Folks in the Bay Area, don’t forget to come out for the End Gun Violence vigil which is happening at the Federal Building on February 7th at 4pm to call for strong public safety laws.

It’s Time to Get War Weapons Off America’s Streets

Last summer as we traveled with the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity sharing the stories of the victims of the drug war in Mexico, we let people know that 80% of the murders were committed with arms bought legally in the US and smuggled across the border to Mexico. The stories of the victims were heart-wrenching, but we never felt we had the backing in this country to call for a complete ban on assault style weapons.

Last week I took part in a One Million Moms for Gun Control action in San Francisco.

Now is the time when we can change the debate in this country. In the wake of the cruel massacre in Newtown, ordinary citizens are demanding action on common sense laws – like a ban on the military style weapons and high-capacity magazines that killed the children and school employees in Newtown. And we don’t fear the gun lobbyists.

It’s time for Congress to stand up to them too and to put public safety ahead of gun industry profits!


Participants of One Million Moms for Gun Control – San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. January, 2013. Photo Credit: Global Exchange

How Do We Get War Weapons Off Our Streets?

Community groups are forming all across the U.S., of mothers, teachers and people who are sick of preventable tragedies. They are forming coalitions with long-term gun control activists like the Brady Campaign, Heeding Gods Call, Million Moms March, the Violence Policy Center and Move-on.

On January 14, Javier Sicilia and researcher Sergio Aguayo presented a petition from more than 54,000 people from Mexico and the United States to the United States Embassy in Mexico City, demanding an end to gun trafficking from the United States to Mexico.

In the coming weeks, Sicilia, the Movement for Peace, and representatives of Mexican civil society will follow up on the petition to talk with U.S. representatives. Read more about it in this recent letter issued by members of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity.

On Wednesday, January 30, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to consider how to address proposals to control gun sales.

Here in San Francisco, an End Gun Violence vigil is planned for the Federal Building on February 7th at 4pm to call for strong public safety laws.

We can make our communities safer for everyone here in the US and we can support our friends across the border, who told us time and time again that we had to stop the flow of weapons into their country, if we dared to hope for peace.


  • Call your elected officials and tell them to support the 2013 Ban on Assault Weapons (sponsored by Dianne Feinstein) which will ban assault weapons, high capacity ammunition cartridges and make all gun buyers pass a background check. Go to this contact elected officials webpage to get started.
  • Follow hashtag #endgunviolence on Twitter to stay in-the-loop about gun control & related issues.



Javier Sicilia looks down gunsight at Albuquerque gun show during Caravan for Peace. Summer 2013 Photo Credit: Global Exchange

Javier Sicilia looks down gunsight at Albuquerque gun show during Caravan for Peace, Summer 2013. Photo Credit: Global Exchange

The following is a joint statement issued by the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity and other participating  organizations (listed below.)

Victims of violence in Mexico, Javier Sicilia, and organizations from Mexico and the United States, gathered in the Second Conference of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity in Mexico City on January 27, 2013, express our support for President Obama’s proposals that to stop the epidemic of violence with firearms, including assault weapons, that afflicts communities in both the United States and Mexico. We urge people of both countries to support these changes that are so urgent for preventing more atrocities with firearms.

Mexico is suffering the consequences of the unrestricted sale of military-style weapons in the United States. More than 100,000 Mexicans, among them 1,800 children less than 15 years old, have been killed in the failed war on drugs in Mexico since 2006. The great majority were victims of firearms, and 68% of firearms recovered at crime scenes in Mexico and traced between 2007 and 2011 were sold in the United States.

Assault weapons have had an especially devastating impact in Mexico, where organized crime desires these weapons to commit atrocities and control markets and territory. Besides homicides, guns are also used to disappear thousands of people, intimidate the population, and commit other crimes.

“We embrace the pain of the mothers and fathers in the United States who have lost children to gun violence, because my own son was disappeared in Michoacán with a firearm,” said Araceli Rodríguez, mother of Luis Ángel León Rodríguez.

A recent study from the University of Notre Dame shows that the expiration in 2004 of the assault weapons ban in the United States caused at least 2,684 additional homicides in Mexico in the following four years.

The massive homicides with guns also have had an intense psychological impact on children, thousands of them made into orphans by the murders of their parents with firearms. Other children have been witnesses to the murders of their parents, like the seven-year-old daughter of journalist Armando Rodríguez, killed with ten shots in front of her in 2008.

There is only one legal gun vendor in Mexico, so that the black market created by the weapons trafficking from the United States is the principle source of assault weapons, pistols, rifles and revolvers for criminal organizations in Mexico.

On January 14, Javier Sicilia and researcher Sergio Aguayo presented a petition from more than 54,000 people from Mexico and the United States to the United States Embassy in Mexico City, demanding an end to gun trafficking from the United States to Mexico. In the coming weeks, Sicilia, the Movement for Peace, and representatives of Mexican civil society will follow up on the petition to talk with U.S. representatives about the shared responsibility for violence in Mexico.

Proposed legislation in the United States includes universal background checks for every person that attempts to buy a firearm. Universal background checks are important to stop the illegal re-sale of weapons acquired by legally qualified individuals. Such gun purchases, known as “straw purchases,” are the way the large majority of guns end up in the hands of criminals.

On Wednesday, January 30, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to consider how to address proposals to control gun sales. We want the Senate to consider the impact that failed gun policies have had in Mexico as well as the United States.

We hope that the United States does not forget the suffering caused in the families, children and people of Mexico by the open gun market in the United States.

  • Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity
  • Grassroots Assembly of Migrant Families (APOFAM)
  • Global Exchange
  • Latin America Working Group (LAWG)
  • Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)
  • Witness for Peace
  • National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities
  • Propuesta Cívica
  • Center for International Policy, Americas Program
  • Comité Espacio Ciudadano
  • Iniciativa Ciudadana para la Promoción de la Cultura del Diálogo A.C.
  • National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS)
  • Churches for Peace (Iglesias por la Paz)
  • Service for Peace and Justice (SERPAJ)-México
Mexican poet Javier Sicilan destroyed a gun during the Caravan for Pace this summer, 2012.

Mexican poet Javier Sicilia destroyed a gun during the Caravan for Peace this summer, 2012.

Millions of anguished conversations about the murder of so many small children at a Connecticut elementary school have produced new resolve to do something. As the holiday season starts, there is a palpable wave of revulsion against the gun industry, the gun fanatics, and the powerful lobbyists who have intimidated our political representatives into allowing all manner of guns – even military style weapons – to be widely and easily available.

Now, with a sense of sea change in public attitude, politicians are waking up. Several unlikely Democrats have spoken in favor of the initiative by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D. CA) to reintroduce the now expired ban on assault weapons she successfully championed in the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, for the first time, the Obama Administration is tentatively articulating leadership on gun regulation. If President Obama commits to strong and sensible gun regulation, we should have his back.

This new commitment to at least talk about gun restriction is heartening. Nevertheless, those, such as myself, who have watched previous waves of horror sweep in, and then recede in the wake of other gun-murder outrages, know we need a broad and resilient coalition against gun violence. We have to be able to win battles now as well as in future confrontations with gun industry interests.

A coalition that can effectively parry the U.S. gun lobby needs to work at a local, state, national, and international level. Locally, we need to involve the representatives of communities and neighborhoods most affected by the more than 30,000 annual gun homicides in the United States in the evolving conversation about how to make our communities safe. At the state level we need to work with legislators like California Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) who is working (with our partners at the Brady Campaign and other Senators like Kevin de Leon, (D-Los Angeles) to make California a laboratory for sensible and exemplary gun policies.

At the national level we need vision and leadership from an Administration that has not previously engaged the difficult politics of gun control. For more than a year, we have worked with allies from Mexico, Washington and important networks like to petition Obama to use executive power to ban the import of assault to the U.S. This request to President Obama was a central element of the Mexican Caravan for Peace that crossed the country last summer, led by victims of the wave of violence 60,000 and counting – fueled by drug profits and guns smuggled from the U.S.

Candlelight vigil at East Los Angeles Church for Caravan for Peace

Candlelight vigil at East Los Angeles Church for Caravan for Peace

Restoring the ban on assault weapons, as Senator Dianne Feinstein seeks to do, would be a vital first step that would go much further than any available executive action to limit access to military style assault weapons. But passage, even such a common sense bill, is by no means guaranteed. Those who profit from the gun trade and their lobbyist enablers like the NRA have a strong grip on the leash of legislators, especially the Republican who control the House of Representatives.

For sensible gun control measures to succeed, the local political math must change. That is why sea change moments – when Washington’s policy silos disappear momentarily and the grief of a few moves the hearts of millions – are so important.

Such a moment came in Mexico when the Mexican President Calderón suggested that 14 teenage victims of an October 2010 massacre at a birthday party in the border town of Ciudad Juarez were linked to organized crime. In fact, the teens were all football players mistakenly targeted by cartel hit men. Later, when the boy’s mothers confronted the President about this during a televised meeting the video of the encounter went viral and caused an opinion watershed and eventually a powerful movement led by victims of Mexico’s drug war. This is the same movement that crossed the border to dramatically make the case for steps to regulate assault weapons in 29 US cities last summer.

As the New Year dawns and members of Congress will likely face decisions about how to weigh in on restoring the assault weapons ban and other possible gun control legislation. We must keep alive the urgency of these initiatives even as attention to the families and victims of Newtown recedes.

Constituent pressure on specific members of Congress will be key to any legislative success. Additionally, the voices of people from both sides of the border with loved ones lost to this long plague of gun violence bring a powerful and morally urgent voice to this conversation. There is no question that banning assault weapons would benefit the security and safety of Mexican border communities. Ending the large scale smuggling of assault weapons used by criminals throughout Mexico is human and national security priority.

As the year closes people gather. I hope we can all look each other in the eyes and muster the courage to ask what kind of world we want to live in and how we can love and work together to get there.


Please join the call on President Obama to stop the flow of assault weapons into our communities.

Most of the 60,000 people killed in Mexico as a result of the “Drug War” were killed with guns sold in the U.S. Tell President Obama that you don’t want greedy gun merchants selling assault weapons, built for war, into our communities where they are then used to massacre tens of thousands of innocent people on both sides of the border.

reid_guncontrolWhen CODEPINK, MoveOn and representatives of other organizations marched into Senator Harry Reid’s DC office on Tuesday, December 18, they wanted a simple answer to a simple question: Does the Senator support a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips, such as the legislation proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein and supported by President Obama and Vice President Biden?

It would seem like a no-brainer for the Senate Majority Leader to fall in line with the leadership of his party in backing a modest bill that would ban the sale of weapons that are only good for mass murder. Unfortunately, Reid’s senior policy advisor Kasey Gillette was unable to give an answer.

While there is a lot of talk in Democratic circles about Republicans standing in the way of sensible gun laws, a hidden secret is that the Democratic Senator leader from Nevada, who is key to getting gun control legislation passed in this country, has been as pro-gun as most Republicans.

In the past, Reid has touted the rights of gun owners and eagerly sought the NRA’s endorsements, contributions and praise. In 2004, Reid was one of the rare Democrats to be endorsed by the NRA. In 2009 he sought to please the powerful lobby by supporting a controversial bill to allow gun owners with concealed weapon permits to cross state lines. The legislation, which was vehemently opposed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, fell just two votes short of the 60 votes needed. The NRA, however, was delighted that Reid had supported the bill and allowed it to be brought to the floor for a vote.

In 2010, when Reid was engaged in a bitter re-election campaign against Republican Sharron Angle, the NRA refrained from endorsing, but contributed to Reid’s campaign and reminded voters of his pro-gun record. An NRA letter to its Nevada members touted that Reid “opposed the Obama administration’s interest in reinstating the assault weapons ban, halting momentum; helped pass a law that allows gun owners to carry firearms in national parks; voted against the District of Columbia’s gun ban; voted for legislation to allow pilots in commercial airline cockpits to be armed.” It also noted that Reid was instrumental in passing legislation halting lawsuits that were attempting to hold gun manufacturers and dealers responsible for weapons used in criminal acts.

NRA head Wayne LaPierre called Senator Reid “a true champion of the Second Amendment” and said “no one has been a stronger advocate for responsible gun ownership than him.”

After the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shootings in July 2012, Senator Reid blocked any debate about gun control, insisting that the Senate schedule was “too packed” to spend time on it.

After this latest tragedy at Sandy Hook that left 20 children dead, Reid took a timid step forward, saying it was time to “engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow violence to grow.” Hinting at a softening of his position, he said that as we discuss how best to protect our nation’s children, “every idea should be on the table.”

But for the gun control advocates in his office on Tuesday, Reid’s faint-hearted call for reform was not nearly enough. With alarm clocks in hand, they said the time for discussion was long past; they wanted action. They said it was time for Senator Reid to stand up to the NRA and to use his leadership to protect our children, not the gun manufacturers.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been making the same demand. “Calling for ‘meaningful action’ is not enough,” he said. “We need immediate action. We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership — not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today. This is a national tragedy and it demands a national response.”

In a move that seems to heed the call for action, President Obama just appointed Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force on new gun laws. Senator Dianne Feinstein said she will introduce legislation early next year to ban the sale of new assault weapons, as well as big clips, drums and strips of more than 10 bullets. Even Virginia’s Mark Warner,
one of the few staunch pro-gun Senate Democrats, reversed course to back restrictions on assault weapons, declaring that “the status quo is not acceptable anymore.”

With 20 children dead, President Obama insisting that preventing gun violence will be a second-term policy priority, and Harry Reid not facing re-election until 2016, perhaps the Senator will now be willing to stand up to the NRA? The clock is ticking.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of and She is author of the recent book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.